Ben Okafor

Ben Okafor
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Ben Okafor is an internationally-acclaimed artist whose forte is the powerful use of his lyrical integrity and command over his multiple talents in music and the arts to communicate and educate.

Ben is respected and renowned amongst his peers in his native Nigeria, USA, Europe and beyond. Ben has a sound reputation for empowering people to use their intellect in conjunction with their artistic skills to express their views on world issues peacefully yet effectively.

Biography

Ben was born in Enugu, eastern Nigeria as 1 of 8 children, his music and early life were shaped by his experiences as a child as Ben was a victim of the civil war in Nigeria and at the age of 13, fought as a boy soldier.  The pain and destruction he witnessed during that period soon began to influence the lyrics he wrote, his songs reflecting a heart-felt plea for justice, truth and love.”By his 14th birthday Ben Okafor had seen more death and destruction than 50 Cent could witness in a lifetime.

Ben’s earliest memories of music go back to live street performances of West African Hi-Life, street dancers and percussion bands in the market squares of eastern Nigeria. Ibo and European church music, alongside his mother’s enthusiasm for Miriam Makeba, combine with the later influences of James Brown, Jimmy Cliff, The Beatles and Rolling Stones, Fela Kuti and – inevitably – The Wailers. Ben’s sound is a combination of rich lyrical African heritage, classic folk protest and driving reggae beats which led to him winning the ‘Outstanding British Reggae Artist Award’.

Ben moved to the UK in 1979 and settled in the Midlands, quickly releasing two albums both produced by Bob Lamb of early UB40 fame.

Ben’s commitment to social justice then later led to collaborations with ‘Amnesty International,’ ‘The Anti-Apartheid Movement’, ‘The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers’. Ben campaigned and toured as part of ‘War Child’ and ‘Make Poverty History’ always using the global language of music as his main tool.

In 2006 Ben wrote the title track ‘Bemamou’ (Enfants Soldats) for the album ‘No Child Soldiers’ featuring African Artists including Alpha Blondy, Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita.

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